|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Insomniac Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Fall 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
July 16, 2009 - The Ratchet and Clank series has always been known for its fun action-based gameplay and crazy weapons. However, the Future series, which began with 2007's Tools of Destruction and continued with last year's Quest for Booty, has been trying something different, adding a legitimate story to the mix. While this mini-series is only 2 games in, the crew at Insomniac games want to wrap up the story after only three games. The last game in the series, A Crack in Time, is releasing this fall, and will pick up right where the series left off. If you have not played Tools of Destruction or Quest for Booty, careful: minor spoilers ahead!
Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time starts out with Clank still in possession of the mysterious Zoni race. Ratchet is still searching for his trusted friend, and he is also learning more about himself and his extended Lombax family. More will also be revealed about Dr. Nefarious' involvement in Clank's kidnapping. Fans may remember Dr. Nefarious as the main antagonist from 2004's Ratchet and Clank: Up your Arsenal. The developers we talked to assured us that all of the questions that were raised in the previous two Future titles will be answered in this game, so it is certainly fair to expect a lot from the story.
The gameplay in Ratchet and Clank Future will be very familiar for fans of the series, and it will still feature plenty of wacky weapons. While playing, we got to test out two of the game's new weapons. The first one we tried out was the Sonic Erupter. This weapon's main component is actually an alien creature that is right in the middle of its mating season. This creature's mating call can be triggered by Ratchet and can best be described as a gigantic burp. This huge belch can toss enemies to the side and quickly clear a crowded playing field.
The other new weapon we were able to toy around with was the Plasma Striker. This is more of a traditional blaster. However, instead of just hitting your enemies, the Plasma Striker also has a special scope that allows you to see enemy weak spots and snipe them from afar.
In addition to the Ratchet-centric levels, fans will be happy to know that there will be plenty of Clank levels as well. Although the two characters are at different ends of the galaxy, you will be able to play from both perspectives, which is very cool. The Clank levels this time around will have a stronger focus on puzzling than they did in Tools of Destruction, because Clank has a new ability: time manipulation.
Although we weren't able to go hands-on, we did get to see a demo of a typical Clank level. In this level, Clank found himself in a long hallway with lots of elevators and switches. Since there were multiple switches placed throughout the hallway that had to all be pressed at the same time, Clank must manipulate time to "record" himself doing things in the past, so that his actions can sync up in the present.
This results in the illusion of multiple Clanks running across each stage. The mechanic starts off fairly simply with only one or two recordings needed to pass most rooms, but the level soon got very complex as four or more Clanks had to deal with springboards, automatic doors, and other objects that obstructed their path. The Clank levels look very interesting, and they'll be a nice reprieve from the action-centric Ratchet levels.
Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time looks like a very promising coda to the Future series as a whole. The gameplay certainly seems familiar to any R&C fan, but the new weapons, puzzle elements, and the ongoing storyline should be enough to draw series veterans right back in. Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time is releasing sometime this November and will be available exclusively for the PlayStation 3.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor